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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The Narnia movies are filled with positive messages about selflessness, self-sacrifice, and generosity. The characters, with the exception of Eustace (at first), are brave and want to help the Narnians defeat evil. As each of the main characters is tempted, they learn to make the choices that work for the greater good. Some of the messages could be considered religious, but it's not overt.
Positive Role Models
Aslan is an almost perfect role model, dispensing sage advice and guiding the characters to make the right decisions. The three kids are also positive role models -- as well as very relatable -- because they overcome their fears and insecurities for the good of Narnia. King Caspian doesn't surrender to his temptation to stand before his father before it's time. Instead, he honors his commitment to be the best king he can be.
Violence & Scariness
The Pevensies and King Caspian and his crew battle the elements and their own fears that turn into reality -- like a giant sea serpent that dozens of men try to bring down with swords and arrows. There's a fair bit of sword play and sword fighting, but no one is killed. On one island, people are "sacrificed" to the sea, so a girl looks horrified as her mother is whisked away on a boat, presumably never to be seen again (spoiler alert: all ends well). A few characters look dead but are actually in a deep sleep. Two characters nearly turn on each other but only because they're under an enchantment. The White Witch appears, but only in Edmund's mind.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
In one brief scene, Lucy looks at a couple who are flirting with each other and embracing. A star manifests herself as a beautiful woman, and both Caspian and Edmund look completely taken with her. An ongoing theme in the movie is that Lucy wishes she were as beautiful (and attractive to the opposite sex) as her older sister, Susan.
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Some British insults -- like "sod," "what the blazes," "bleedin," and "thick" -- as well as "crap," "shut up," "idiot," "oh God" (as an exclamation), and the like.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the third Chronicles of Narnia installment is, like its predecessors, a tween-friendly fantasy adventure. In general, you can expect the same level of special effects-heightened battles/violence and minor language as Prince Caspian. While there's little inappropriate content for older elementary-schoolers and up, younger kids may be frightened by a few scenes with a giant sea serpent and others set on an island where people are routinely sacrificed. Like all of the adaptations based on C. S. Lewis' classic books, there are some mild allusions to Christianity, though nothing overtly religious is said (Aslan does reference the "other name" he's called in the regular world). The film offers positive lessons about collaboration, selflessness, and overcoming personal doubts and fears, and the three central kids all grapple with self-worth issues that will be very relatable for tweens. Note: The movie's 3-D images add to the intensity of a few action sequences, particularly the battle with the giant sea snake. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Chronicles of Narnia series isn't exactly The Lord of the Rings saga, but, THE VOYAGE OF THE DAWN TREADER is surprisingly engaging. Yes, it follows the less-glamorous younger siblings and their insufferable on-screen cousin, but that's true to Lewis' story and allows for Edmund and Lucy (and Keynes and Henley) to mature and show that they're as worthy as Peter and Susan to fight for Narnia. Simon Pegg replaces Eddie Izzard as the voice of Reepicheep, and once again the sword-wielding mouse is a highlight of the action -- in this case helping Eustace grow into a brave defender of Narnia.
Director Michael Apted, a master at nuance and character development (he made both the groundbreaking documentary series 7 Up and the Oscar-winning biopic Coal Miner's Daughter), smartly focuses on the relationships between the main characters rather than the action. There are still some special effects-heavy sequences, but it's not mind blowing. So Apted chronicles how Lucy deals with her desire to be as beautiful as her older sister and how Edmund struggles with his jealousy over living in Peter's -- and now Caspian's -- shadow. These are believable younger sibling "issues," and it makes the Pevensies -- and Eustace, who's too logical and uptight for his own good -- incredibly relatable to a tween audience, many of whom are experiencing similar doubts about their self-worth. So although this saga isn't quite as memorable as other epic fantasies like LOTR and the Harry Potter movies, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a worthier-than-expected journey.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.